Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

Making your own chicken stock is easy, healthy, and budget-friendly! It’s a great way to use vegetable scraps and get the most out of your chicken dinner.

What I do is save my onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and garlic trimmings in a bag in the freezer. Sometimes I include green bean ends, potato peels, and cabbage cores. Things I do not like to add to my homemade stocks are bell peppers, peppers of any kind really, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, anything like that with a very strong flavor. You don’t want any one vegetable note standing out in your stock; we’re aiming for a well-balanced chicken stock where the predominant flavor is the chicken, with only a hint of vegetabley-ness. Also avoid using the peels of vegetables that are waxed (e.g., cucumbers, winter squash, rutabaga).

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
Then, whenever I roast a chickenย I can save the carcass and add to it my bag of frozen vegetable trimmings, some water, and voila I’m all set to make delicious homemade stock. You can also save raw bones and use those. An example would be the backbone from a spatchcocked chicken or even the turkey neck from your Thanksgiving turkey. If you like, you can brown raw bones in a little oil over medium-high heat before adding the vegetables and water to deepen the flavor and color of the final stock.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

I don’t usually add salt, either, so that later on when I’m using it in a recipe I know I’m starting with a “clean slate” so to speak, as far as salt goes. And I think it goes without saying, but after they’ve been cooked with the chicken, the vegetables are no longer appropriate for composting. I just put all of the solids I strain out into the trash which is where the chicken carcass would have gone anyway, but this way at least we get some delicious soup base out of it!

Stock vs Broth

What’s the Diff???

Both use the fundamentals of water, vegetables, and spices but while broth is made using only the meat for flavoring, stocks are made with bones. Stocks are richer, darker, and more viscous than broth. Because they are made with bones, stocks have a deeper flavor and a higher mineral content than broth and so they are my preference. I use stock in things like chicken tortilla soup. Either can be usedย for chicken and dumplings. You may prefer to use broth over stock if you want a light color, though, as you might for an egg drop soup.


Homemade Chicken Stock

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  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 chicken carcass (or 23 chicken backbones or 1 turkey neck)
  • 4 cups vegetable trimmings
  • 4 quarts water
  • Optional spices: 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, extra garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt (or more), 2-3 parsley sprigs
  • 2 cups ice cubes (2 big handfuls)


  1. Put everything except ice in a large pot or in a pressure cooker.
  2. If using a pot: Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Turn heat to medium-low and keep at a strong simmer for one hour, partially covered.
  3. If using a pressure cooker: Seal the lid, bring up to pressure over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes at 15psi, turn off heat and release pressure.
  4. Cool quickly by adding about two cups of ice cubes. Strain through a sieve or fine colander into pint or quart-size containers. Refrigerate until cool.
  5. (Once cool, you may remove some or all of the chicken fat that has set on top for a low-fat stock.)
  6. Cover and freeze up to 3 months, or refrigerate up to one week.

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I really prefer doing this in a pressure cooker for the obvious time-saving factor, plus it gives me a good reason to use an oft-neglected kitchen instrument.


  1. Great Stone Face on September 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I definitely have to get the discipline to collect the trimmings and freeze them. You delineation on what types of trimmings to include in chicken stock is great. Thanks!

    I’d save the asparagus and similar strong-flavored trimmings anyway, maybe each in a separate bag, to use for various vegetable stocks.

    The only departure I’d make is the turkey neck suggestion — that’s delicious to nibble on roasted or boiled (if used as a base for the gravy). In our house, it’d never survive to be put in the freezer.

    • Hilah on September 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      You certainly do, GSF! Well, I admit I hate having the funky bags of weirdly shaped things in my freezer for months but I love having the orderly rows of chicken stock quarts in the freezer for months after that!
      But you know, next time I will have to try cooking that turkey neck. Never have before. In fact, I still have a frozen turkey neck from last T-day (probably should toss it now, whaddaya think?)

  2. Sue on September 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Just found you the other day, as your breakfast taco book is free on my Kindle. I spent a couple of hours watching your videos on you tube and quickly subscribed to your web site. You’re awsome! Not only entertaining, but very informative too! You remind me of Alton Brown who is a famous celeb on food network. It’s called Good Eats…. really I think I like you more. Iv’e already told a couple of friends about you, so I imagine you’re going to get some more subscribers. Keep up the good work and you’ve got a loyal follower! p.s. Love the old time drink recepies!

    • Hilah on September 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Sue!
      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Alton Brown – I’m so flattered to be compared to him! Thanks for spreading the word. I hope you like the new videos we have this season!

  3. nate on September 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Hilah, do you do canning of meat in your pressure pot? I am going to buy one in a few months and have been watching some you tube video on it. I was just wondering what your experience has been with pressure cooker sealed/canned/jar’d foods has been like?

    • Hilah on September 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Hey Nate! I never have used my pressure cooker for canning. As tough and brave as I may seem, I’m irrationally afraid of things exploding in my kitchen, especially pressure cookers with glass inside them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you haven’t ever seen the site Food in Jars, I recommend it! I found this post on pressure canning stock. Good luck!

  4. Kendra on September 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Hilah, Kitchen Instrument? lol You always say something unexpectedly cool. Anyway, you outlined a good use for vegetable remains. I wouldn’t toss the ice in with the soup though, only because I wouldn’t want to diluted my stocky goodness. I would make a ice bath in the sink and put the pot in there and stir for a bit. However, I can’t deny the quickness of your method. Side note, my pops had a pressure cooker explode on him in the 70’s, he ran to a nearby hospital in his undies…

    It’s funny now!

    • Hilah on September 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      Oh my god, that’s my worst nightmare! I hope Pops was okay. I assume so, if it’s funny now. Anyway, great idea with the ice bath! I never would have thought to do that.

  5. Kendra on September 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

    He was fine, a few minor burns and tons of embarrassment from what I can remember. I was just a little kid, but I remember looking around the kitchen and thinking “Why is there (food bits) stuff all over everything?” Luckily they make pressure cookers with actual safety features now.

    • Hilah on September 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Yeah, I’ve heard that older PCs were much more likely to explode than modern ones. I still get nervous sometimes!

  6. Steve on May 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Your stock is awesome. I used to make stock in pressure cooker. Then one night, it exploded. It was a huge mess! Luckily, no one was in the kitchen. Leaving the pressure cooker unattended (and on high) was what caused it to explode. I used it again for a few months, and was very happy. Then one day it exploded again. This time, it wasn’t my fault. The rubber seal cracked. After the second instance of having to clean chicken fat from every crack of my kitchen, my wife and decided to be just stock-pot kind of people. You know what the weird part is? I kind of want to get a new pressure cooker.

    • Hilah on May 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Holy crap! I’ve never had a PC explode, but it is a horrifying idea. I don’t think I’d ever give it another shot after TWO explosions. You are brave and I’m glad the stock worked out! Thanks for posting the pics on FB, Steve. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. larry kimball on May 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I love making chicken stock! And YES, when I follow your spatchcock chicken recipe I use the backbone for stock – and sometimes I also cut off the leg nubs and wing tips, they are pretty much inedible anyway. The only thing I add to the pot not on your list is whole clove, I love the flavor of cloves and toss in 3 or 4 into the pot. Something about making chicken stock is very soothing and satisfying, don’t you think? Keep it up, Hilah, I follow your every facebook post and tweet!

    • Hilah on May 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Yummy! I love that clove idea, Larry! Like using the clove-studded onion when making classic Bechamel sauce, eh? I’m guessing it doesn’t end up tasting like cloves, but just adds an interesting layer of flavor? I think I”ll try that next time!

      • larry kimball on May 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        Oh, MAN! Just made a Bechamel sauce for a white lasagna tonight, and did not even think of clove-studded onion. Next time. Yeah, whole cloves are strained out of the finished stock at the end, so all you are left with is one of those “Wow, what is that flavor, not sure what it is but I like it!’ And YES, I followed your recipe for Bechamel sauce in How To Make Gravy. Keep it up, Hilah, you rock!

  8. Drew on January 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Hi, Hilah! I am a huge fan of yours. I’m so glad to have found your chicken stock recipe, as I haven’t been having a lot of luck trying to make it. Saving vegetable trimmings is sheer genius! I always wondered if I could put them to some purpose besides filling up my garbage faster. I do have a question about the recipe, though:

    Does the chicken carcass need to be cooked before you add it to the stock? I buy whole chickens and butcher them (such a money saver!) and have tried using the carcass for the stock, but I always get these weird white particles floating around in the stock. I’m not sure if that’s normal or not.

    • Hilah on January 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Drew!

      You can totally use a raw chicken carcass. The proteins in it coagulate in the water as it cooks and that’s the bits that you see. They aren’t bad in any way and you can remove them by straining.
      But, if you use a carcass from a roasted chicken you’ll get a richer tasting chicken stock with less coagulated protein.
      Maybe to keep it easy on yourself, use that raw carcass but brown it in the stock pot with a small amount of butter before adding the veg and water. Might still get some protein “floaters” but you’ll have a tastier stock with minimal effort!

      Thanks for writing!

  9. Steve on December 26, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I just made 3 Qts. of chicken stock following your recipe in the Slow Cooking Cookbook. (I love that cookbook). I have a question about the vinegar in the stock. I have seen a few slow cooker stock recipes. All of them call for vinegar. What does it do? Vinegar seems unique to the slow cooking method. I like it when you get all science-y. Please explain. — Thanks

    • Hilah on December 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Hey Steve!
      I add a little vinegar when simmering stocks because the acid draws the calcium out of the bones to make a more nutritious stock.

  10. Pia on February 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Never throw away asparagus trimmings, put them into the freezer and use them for the stocks you need for asparagus risotto.

    • Hilah on February 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Pia!

  11. Your biggest fan! on October 5, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I am most certaintly your biggest fan! This week I roasted two chickens, prepped veggies for the tortilla soup so I could toss veggie trimmings into freezer bag for chicken stock, made the chicken stock , and made Spanish rice.
    The timeline: after chickens were roasted, we ate shredded chicken veggies and Spanish rice throughout the week.
    Last evening we made the tortilla soup and a second batch of Spanish rice and we’re taking it to the lake with us this weekend.
    I have one of your learn Learn to Cook cook books at our apartment and one at the lake. They are tattered. I plan to just simply replace them with new ones if necessary.
    It is common that we eat your taco salad every week.
    Eating is so important. Thanks for helping me to keep things in perspective, for make cooking from scratch workable, and thank you for everything you do!

    • Hilah on October 5, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Oh wow! What a compliment! I’m beaming ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m so happy you are making the most of your roasted chickens. Homemade chicken stock is world’s better than canned and I think it makes everything you cook with it ten times better, as well.
      Have fun at the lake! Sounds wonderful

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